CIVIL SOCIETY PROJECT (CSP)

Start date:  February 27, 2012   
End date:  August 31, 2014   
Project budget:  $2,540,000
Implementer:   Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM), in partnership with four local civil society organizations (CSOs):
the Youth Educational Forum; Forum – Center for Strategic Research and Documentation; the Center for Civil Communications; and Reactor – Research in Action.

Objectives
The Civil Society Project (CSP) aims to empower Macedonian citizens to hold government accountable. The project is designed to address CSO weaknesses including their difficulties in reaching out to grass-roots supporters, the lack of effective coalitions that could strengthen their position, and their inability to tackle challenging issues. It will do so by 1) building constituency support and encouraging civic activism and participation; 2) empowering CSOs to conduct government oversight and advocate for public policy; and 3) establishing networks and platforms for greater mobilization, cooperation and solidarity between CSOs.

Components
1)      Component A: Civic Activism and Participation - empowering citizens and young people to recognize ways they can engage in their communities. CSP will generate sustained activism and impact over time by a) establishing a School for Active Citizenship that will link civic education with service learning, volunteerism and on-line activism; b) using new media activities that mirror offline forms of engagement; and c) fertilizing grassroots action by providing technical assistance and grants for activism.
2)      Component B: Oversight and Advocacy - stimulating genuine civil society organizations to address contentious issues and press the government to undertake democratic reforms. The project will empower CSOs to conduct government oversight and advocate public policy through a) fellowships and trainings; b) grants for CSO engagement in government oversight and research-based advocacy in targeted areas; and c) activities to mobilize CSOs to draft and implement advocacy strategies, and establish relationships with policy makers.
3)      Cooperation and Mobilization of CSOs will be promoted by supporting joint actions of partnerships and networks, forums for exchange of experiences, discussions of mutual problems, possible solutions and future activities. Activities will include a) a CSP Clinic that will serve as means to engage in systematic and ongoing dialogue with CSOs and informal groups; b) civic forums to bring together reform-minded actors for discussions on actual topics and propose joint advocacy actions directed toward democratic reforms; c) a grant scheme to support jointly developed actions of partnerships and networks that animate civil society actors to provide solidarity and join around alerted issues; and d) a web-based CSP platform to provide access to information on CSO operations, contacts of CSOs with other organizations, promotion of events of CSOs, and discussion forums on specific topics.

Achievements/Impact
In its first year of operations, CSP helped 10 CSOs increase their capacity to engage in civic initiatives that mobilize citizens in social advocacy actions. It mobilized an additional 12 CSOs to engage in government oversight and research-based advocacy for democratic reforms addressing a wide range of issues, such as monitoring judicial independence, the role of the national broadcaster, gender equality, corruption, public procurements, and discrimination. The project supported four CSO partnerships to work together on actions focusing on youth issues, the fight against hunger and poverty, and representation of ethnic minorities at the local level.
To help youth tackle issues that concern them, CSP trained 329 young people throughout Macedonia on topics such as freedom of association, youth policies, citizen initiatives, persuasive argumentation and use of new media. 700 young people actively participated in seven local events around the country after receiving training in youth activism and the use of new media instruments.
CSP brought together government representatives, MPs, and local and international experts at conferences to discuss the challenges of EU accession as well as local and regional development. Such activities made extensive use of online media and live-streaming to reach wider public audiences.

Contact Information
 
Contact at USAID: Melita Cokrevska, AOR, mcokrevska@usaid.gov 
Chief of Party:  Sunchica Kostovska-Petrovska, skost@soros.org.mk
Information Officer:  Katerina Nikolova,katerina.nikolova@soros.org.mk 
Website:  www.soros.org.mk; www.civilsociety.mk
 
 

 

Last updated: November 15, 2013

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